WHEN NEW STUDENTS AND FACULTY arrive at THINK Global School, they quickly learn the importance placed on cultural integration within their newly-adopted community. While our time in each country can be fleeting, there exist many opportunities for genuine friendships to be struck up between those of us within TGS and the local individuals courteous and curious enough to welcome us into their lives. This camaraderie is especially likely between our students and those adolescents attending the host school with which we are partnering that term. In this scenario, it is common to discuss the shared similarities between cultures while contrasting the differences. Online tools such as Facebook make it easier than ever for these newfound relationships to continue.
Another guiding principle within our organization is the belief that we should be leaving a positive footprint on each community that we visit. Each term provides ample opportunities for us to do just that, often through community outreach activities such as the construction of new school buildings. We had the opportunity to do just that during our terms in Cuenca, Ecuador and Chiang Mai, Thailand. Time and time again, we receive word from our students that the feeling of satisfaction that results from these excursions is priceless.
Keeping both of these thoughts in mind, it is always wonderful when we receive word from a previous host school that a project we were involved in is still thriving. This was the case recently when the Berlin Brandenburg International School (BBIS) sent word via email that an oven our school had helped fund and create was being put to good use. The oven is the result of a two-day intensive workshop and is constructed entirely from natural materials, including clay, glass bottles, wood, and bricks. In a show of school communities existing together and intermingling, the students of TGS and BBIS celebrated the completion of the fully functioning oven by baking homemade pizzas and calzones together. This celebration took place in June, and it is interesting to see the evolution of the oven as other school children have adorned the exterior of the oven with tiles and other decorative pieces.